Retail sales fell by 0.4 per cent in November, according to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The drop was worse than many experts expected and points to a miserable level of sales for retailers in the key month of December when the majority of households will do most of their Christmas spending.
Howard Archer, Chief UK 7 European Economist at IHS Global said:”It is the Christmas period that is particularly vital for most retailers and the 0.4% drop in sales volumes in November indicates that they are having their work cut out to get pressurized and worried consumers to spend.”
The value of sales, the actual money spent increased by 4.6 per cent this November, compared to November 2010, whilst the volume of sales increased by 0.7 per cent.
Mr Archer said: “Admittedly, November’s drop in sales volumes followed a rise of 1.0% in October and sales volumes were up a decent 0.7% on a three-month/three-month basis.”
Online sales (non-retail sales) saw a massive jump on last year, up by 18.9 per cent in volume, reinforcing the trend that internet shopping is replacing high-street shopping for many consumers and providing further evidence to the problems that can be seen on the High Street with shop closures.
Online sales now account for 12.2 per cent of all sales and the average weekly spend on online retailing has risen to £787.9 million from £546.4 million in October 2011.
Non-seasonally adjusted data reveals that small stores are increasing sales quicker than large stores, up by 4.5 per cent in volume compared to a decrease of 0.1 per cent for large retailers.
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